MOTHER in sign language

ASL sign for MOTHER

Definition: A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant "5" handshape taps twice on the lower chin near the mouth.

This signword is generally translated into "mother" in English, and sometimes "mom".

Pronunciation/articulation: Fingers of the dominant "5" handshape flutter on the lower chin near the mouth.

This signword is generally translated into "mother" only in English, not "mom". This sign is used with some particular compound signs or some particular contexts or meanings, such as MOTHER EARTH.

Sometimes, like hearing people using other terms than "mother", Deaf people also have other signs, such as MOMMY or MUM.


Related signs: FAMILY, MOTHER-IN-LAW, MOTHER's DAY.

Opposite: FATHER.

Usage/Grammar

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Printable ASL ASL printable for MOTHER
Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

ASL writing for MOTHER

Contributed by ASLwrite.

Language learning, language play, etc.

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Some word entries have one of some tidbits in this section, such as minimal pairs of sign words, rhymes, etc. usually related to or associated with its word entry.

Deaf Culture and more

Baby Signing

The time-lapse video of phonological acquisition shows how the baby "Juli" acquires the sign "MOTHER" naturally in a native ASL-signing environment as a case study.

Even though the "5" handshape is one of the unmarked handshapes but why didn't she use this handshape? Thumb is one of the most difficult phonological aspects to acquire at earlier age.

The "1" handshape is also one of the unmarked handshapes. She began with this handshape, then "A" and finally then "5". Signing children may process in their own ways.

In term of the movement, the infant Juli started with what is appeared to be the movement away from the face rather than toward the face. See the difference between age 1;2 and 1;5 (both same handshapes but different movement).

Though, many Deaf ASLian parents may use the handshape "1" for (what is equivalent to English as) MOMMY or "mum" with their babies. Instead, the mother used the regular ASL sign ("5" handshape) all the way; watching Juli's development had been interesting.

In case you're wondering what she signed at the end of this video. She uttered in ASL, "MAKE HEART FOR MOTHER". Notice the handshape error for HEART ("6" handshape instead of the correct "open 8").

Signing at age 4 in the video above with the, aww, mouthing "mama". The signword MOTHER must be her all-time favorite. :D See how her little eyes twinkled.

Search Tips and Pointers

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Contextual meaning: Some ASL signs in the dictionary may not mean the same in different contexts and/or ASL sentences. You will see some examples in video sentences.

ASL is very much alive and indefinitely constructable as any spoken language. The best way to use ASL right is to immerse in daily language interactions and conversations with Deaf/Ameslan people (or ASLians).